Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Know You’re Becoming a Religious Christian When… | Pastor Jake

There is both a positive and neutral way to use the word “religion” or “religious.”  But it’s certainly no secret that the term can also represent that which obscures truth, ruins people, and grieves God; and all this done "in the name of Jesus."  As such we have to fight against it in our hearts, homes, churches, and culture.  But before we take on the world, let’s start with you…with us.  How do you know you’re becoming religious Christian?  Here are 10 indicators: You know you’re becoming religious Christian when…

  1. You find yourself increasingly bending Scripture to fit you rather than bending yourself to fit Scripture. 
  2. You find yourself excusing sin in one area of your life because you serve God in other areas. 
  3. You find yourself becoming more and more distressed that you don’t look better than someone else when you sin rather than experiencing more and more distress at disappointing God.
  4. You secretly take pleasure in people’s sin because it makes you feel better about how you’re doing spiritually. 
  5. You secretly hate it when other people do great things for God because that tends to take attention off of you. Or, it highlights what you’re not doing.
  6. You find yourself so busy serving God that you don’t have time to love your neighbor.
  7. You major on the minors and minor on the majors when it comes to matters of theology and ethics.
  8. You are becoming confused about rituals and relationship; rituals for God are thought of more and more as a relationship with God.  Hammer is mistaken as house, instrument as what the instrument serves.
  9. You are becoming an expert in spotting sin in others and a master at rationalizing your own.
  10.  Your acts of “repentance” aren’t meant so much to mourn personal sin as they are to gain approval and notoriety from people around you; this is your way of showing people you have what it takes to confess sin.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Making God's Love Known in Romania" by Alyssa Isgett

Praise God for a joy filled time spent in Romania.  This was my third journey to Romania. Each time, I am amazed by what God is doing and the ways he is moving particularly through the younger generations of people. This time, I was yet again amazed by the fire he has instilled in the hearts of Romanians in the younger generation to serve Christ and his love at all costs.

While in Romania, we traveled to the mountains for a camp with college aged students.  We spent the week building relationships with local missionaries and Romanians.  We got to work with one church in particular that was very similar to Oasis.  We immediately made connections and began working our way into the hearts of the young adults.

My prayer for the months leading up to this journey was that Christ would make his purpose for me on this trip very clear and specific.  That I would know exactly why I was in Romania and what it is that He wanted me to learn.  It was not long into our first full day that I began to realize why I was at this camp and what Christ had in store.

I met Este. Este is a severely Autistic girl that I was able to spend time with.  My heart and soul is to serve the disabled community.  When I met Este, I immediately knew she was the one person I would seek out.  Este’s caretaker, Alex, came to the camp with Este. She does not know Christ. She is not involved in a church. Each time I spoke with her, she would shut me out and say, “Oh, that’s Este’s thing.”  So I began to pray.  Lord, open my eyes. Open my heart. Why am I in this place and what am I supposed to do. 

It was not long after that, that Christ showed me exactly what he wanted.  I took Este away from Alex so her friend from the church, Ana, who she already trusts, could share God’s love.  I was able to show Este God’s love in our talks and the little songs I learned in Romanian. Alex was able to break away from her workers mentality so that Ana, a leader from the church, could share God’s love with her.  Through this interaction, many meaningful conversations rooted in Christ took place.

I do not know if Alex is saved.  But I do know that she heard the Gospel, quite possibly for the first time.  I know that Ana will continue to pray and pour into Alex, as well as Este.  As for Este, well, let’s just say she is full of joy and one of the sweetest girls I have ever met.  Christ is working in big ways in Romania.  Not only in churches, but in the disabled community as well. My heart definitely longs to be back in Bucharest where God’s love is moving. I cannot wait to see what else he does.